The pros and cons of WhatsApp chats between teachers and their pupils


  • TECH
  • Sunday, 03 Mar 2019

WhatsApp can offer a practical way for teachers and pupils to communicate. However, there are also disadvantages to using the messaging app. — dpa

People typically reach for their smartphone to send a quick message or photo. Most use WhatsApp and form large groups in the app so that they can contact a lot of people at once. At some schools, teachers and pupils even have WhatsApp chats. Is this good or bad?

Here's an overview of the pros and cons.

Pros

- It's practical. Teachers can remind a class to bring a certain book, for instance. Or they write: The temperature tomorrow will be 30°C, so the physical education class is going to the outdoor swimming pool. Bring your swimming things!

- It doesn't take long to write a message. A teacher would otherwise have to phone all of the pupils one after another. The teacher could also send an email, but not all of the pupils might read it.

- Teachers are in the loop. If someone in the group writes something unkind, the teacher can then address it and "reconcile the conflict", points out a parents' association member.

Cons

- Some teachers also post school marks on WhatsApp. "They're not supposed to though," a teacher says. School marks are very personal and nobody else's business. The same goes for illnesses. If a pupil is ill, the teacher should call the school office.

- Pupils are always on call and have to think of school even in their free time. WhatsApp can also show whether a pupil is online. "Pupils might not want teachers to see this," a media expert explains.

- WhatsApp uploads the entire address book from users' smartphones. "But maybe the friends in the address book don't want WhatsApp to have their number," the media expert notes. After all, it's not clear what WhatsApp does with the numbers. Many specialists say there are messaging apps that are more secure, such as Threema or Wire. – dpa
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